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Kenyans Suffered More From Emotional and Financial Stress Owing to COVID-19 Than Other African Nations in 2020 – Report

In the past year, Kenyans suffered more from financial and emotional stress from the COVID-19 pandemic than other African nations, according to a survey by GeoPoll that found the country reporting the most widespread income cuts and distress of any of six African nations polled in November.

The survey conducted in Kenya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, DRC, Mozambique, and South Africa found 43 percent of 3,000 respondents reporting their emotional wellbeing had deteriorated in 2020.The report also found that three-quarters of respondents in Nairobi said their emotional health was worse than in 2019, with most citing a surge in financial pressure as the main cause. It also reveals that more people had been affected by severe cuts in earnings in Kenya than in the other nations.

Around 52 percent of the respondents across all six nations reported a large drop in earnings since June, compared to 64 percent of respondents in Kenya.

“South Africa had a lockdown early in the pandemic, but measures there have since eased, and the other nations polled have had fewer long-lasting restrictions. Only Kenya has had extensive restrictive measures throughout, remaining under curfew for months, and delivering economic cuts that have caused a parallel deterioration in respondents’ emotional wellbeing,” said Roxana Elliott, VP of Marketing for GeoPoll.

This has led to a far greater degree of disruption to normal routines. Across all six countries, 50 percent of respondents reported their routines had been changed a lot by the pandemic, but, in Kenya, 66 percent of respondents reported considerable changes to routines, with only 6 percent saying their routines had not changed at all.  The report also indicates that Kenyans are gloomier, even as the 2022 general election approaches.

According to the survey finding, Kenyans are worried about the amount of time it will take before they start to see any improvement in their financial situation, with 56 percent expecting it to take over six months, and 35 percent over a year.

In the same vein, they are the most bearish about the country’s economic outlook, with 44 percent expecting the economy to improve over in 2021 compared to 40 percent who expect it to deteriorate.

“The prolonged disruption of routines in Kenya, combined with a larger second wave of infections than seen in many other countries, and a greater economic impact, have brought a general level of distress and anxiety to the national psyche that is reflecting across people’s attitudes and decisions,” said Roxana.

Yet, hope may be in sight: more Kenyans are poised to take up any available vaccination than the average for the six nations, with 47 percent saying they will definitely get a vaccination as quickly as possible, and another 21 percent saying they probably will.

Margaret Njuguna

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